spam

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spam /vt.,vi.,n./ [from "Monty Python's Flying Circus"] 1. To crash a program by overrunning a fixed-size buffer with excessively large input data. See also buffer overflow, overrun screw, smash the stack. 2. To cause a newsgroup to be flooded with irrelevant or inappropriate messages. You can spam a newsgroup with as little as one well- (or ill-) planned message (e.g. asking "What do you think of abortion?" on soc.women). This is often done with cross-posting (e.g. any message which is crossposted to alt.rush-limbaugh and alt.politics.homosexuality will almost inevitably spam both groups). 3. To send many identical or nearly-identical messages separately to a large number of Usenet newsgroups. This is one sure way to infuriate nearly everyone on the Net.

The second and third definitions have become much more prevalent as the Internet has opened up to non-techies, and to many Usenetters sense 3 is now (1995) primary. In this sense the term has apparantly begun to go mainstream, though without its original sense or folkloric freight -- there is apparently a widespread belief among lusers that "spamming" is what happens when you dump cans of Spam into a revolving fan.


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